Pope to teens: Don't fall for hate, fearmongers; find nice friends

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Don’t fall for hate and fearmongering from others; make new friends instead and always help and show
concern for others, Pope Francis told the world’s teens.

“Be brave and go against the tide, be friends of
Jesus, who is the prince of peace,” he said in a written message for the
Jubilee of Mercy for Young People, scheduled to be celebrated in Rome and
dioceses around the world April 23-25.

In his written message, released by the Vatican Jan. 14,
the pope said the Year of Mercy is open to everyone so they may experience
“a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy.”

God invites everyone, he said, because “there are no
walls or distances which can prevent the father’s mercy from reaching and
embracing us.”

While three days in April have been set aside for those
between 13 and 16 years of age, every day of the jubilee year marks “a
chance for us to grow in holiness.”

It is also a time to realize “that life together as
brothers and sisters is like a great party, perhaps the most beautiful party we
can imagine, the endless party that Jesus has taught us to celebrate by his

However, the pope said, “I cannot forget those of
you who are living in situations of war, extreme poverty, daily troubles and
loneliness. Don’t ever lose hope! The Lord has a great dream which, with your
help, he wants to come true.”

Other young people around the world have not forgotten
about those who are less fortunate and they “are working for peace and
justice for everyone everywhere,” he said.

“Don’t be taken in by the messages of hatred or
terror all around us. Instead, make new friends. Give of your time and always
show concern for those who ask your help,” he said.

Pope Francis reminded young people that preparing for a
pilgrimage or jubilee celebration didn’t just mean getting backpacks and
banners ready, “but your hearts and minds as well.”

He urged them to grow closer to Jesus and draw
nourishment from the sacraments. Becoming more merciful during the Year of
Mercy means not only growing “in a love which is courageous, generous and
real,” it is means greater spiritual growth, too.

“You are preparing to be Christians capable of
making courageous decisions in order to build daily, even through little
things, a world of peace,” he said.

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Editors: The pope’s message for the Jubilee of Mercy for
young teens can be found in English at:


And in Spanish at:


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